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tv   [untitled]    July 18, 2012 11:00pm-11:30pm PDT

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is simple and works. if we need more documentation of what project has been where, that clipboard system can be transferred to an ipad. q-matic treats us not as professionals but as cattle. i think it is problematic. think you. >> hypi. i have been doing business with dbi for over 15 years. things were starting to get where you could get somewhere, and this is the worst thing that has ever come by. i can give you an example that my existence -- my assistant and i did a test. we were waiting to pay. we were 10th in line. we watched in the computer where we went. we are back down to 10 again.
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then what do you do? we're sitting there and finally we get our number called, and lo and behold to numbers, same person. to different people have the same number. then you have a cat fight about who is going next. the timing of it is awful. a civil permit use to take me three hours. thank you. >> i am a little short. i have been pulling commercial tenant improvement permits for the past eight years. i do this in oakland. iq-matic works and other cities because to go in and take four or five permits and go to the clerk and put them in and walk away and go wherever they need to go. here and i have four or five permits that have several different scenario. two weeks ago i had a permit
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that was a can of peas or have to go to structural and to fire. i had a title 24 mechanical permit. all different systems and different kinds of plan checkers and need to see. i was there probably a day and a half to get all the other permits. the first weeks -- the first day i had a commercial demote permit that goes to one station. i got there and at a clock and did not lleave until 4:00. -- got there art 9:00 and did ntot leave until 4:00. i personally remember the old system would we have specialized counters for people, and i feel like even though we didn't do
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over the counter, it moved faster. i just think there needs to be a different system. i do not know about shopping for plan checkers. i do not know if it is about who is falling favoritism or who to avoid. there are certainly those that i like to avoid because i do not get a clean plan check, but there needs to be a system for monitoring better. thank you. i am sure you hear a lot of different things today, but i would really like to see a different system. >> my name is rachel pollard. i follow lot of permits for homeowners and residential. -- i pull a lot of permits for
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homeowners and residential. our clients are complaining. it is legitimately because it is taking forever. you go wait in line on the first floor, and they tell you there is a complete with the bill the department and have to go to the third floor. this complaint has already been resolved. they send it back to the first floor and have to go back to wait again. it is just a circle people go in that never used to happen before. i strongly do not like this system. thank you. >> good morning, commissioners. any ms. bruce baughman. i have been processing permit since been ths since the mid-1'.
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i suffer from remembering how the system began. i echo what pat said, the system was not broken. the system worked well, the department is understaffed. they work very hard. i think we should go back to the clipboard. i think it worked. i think if the department would like to work on perhaps making changes to the system once the q-matic is gone, i would be more than happy to assist in that. >> thank you. next comment. >> good morning, commissioners. my name is colin miller.
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there a work withi eotwork with. this is affecting all the way to the inspections as clients are canceling inspections, and i am hearing nothing but bad feedback from contractors that it is doubling their time and not able to get revision permits. this is caused tons of conversations on my end, and at the end of the day it is passed on to the homeowner, and that is not fair. >> good morning, commissioners. my name is patrick 0 bellino'de. you have heard that it is taking longer to process permits and productivity is slightly down and varies from department to department. you have heard from people on the other side of the counter,
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whether it is the homeowner that has to take a few hours of work to process the permits or professional there every single day, it is taking longer from the public side and productivity is down. by any rational business standard that would make it non- starter. i ask that you look at this very closely. i think to give it a little bit of context, when q-matic was in its inception, commercial plan check was done on the second floor with one plan checker to take care of all of the permits for the whole city. i think the department deserves a lot of credit. the fifth floor system works very well. we are able to get a lot of permits the very in complexity over the counter. he is there in the trenches trying to resolve issues that
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are very complex, and this is a very complex process. i would ask the commission to continue to look into this and figure out a way to make this effective or plan checks back to keep things moving, and the customers to go through there in an efficient manner. i would also like to point out that while everyone is talking about q-matic i do not want to look -- lose sight of what fans that are not processed er-the- counter. there are a lot more construction jobs right now than there were a few years ago and a lot of people that want to keep working. the backlogs are growing. we understand the department is overstaffed, but that trend will not change. that not only affects the downtown high-rise, but it affects the homeowner doing a third floor addition of the house because they're stuck behind a large project like that.
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thank you very much. >> good morning, commissioners. i have been with the department since 1998. the system you have down there with the clipboards was working just fine. it was simple. it was flexible enough to allow us to go where we need to go. if there was a decline in one station week ago to a plan check station where there was no line. all of that is gone. it simply does not work. oakland has for plan check stations. go to the station and drop your plant in york on. the system we have before work just fine. i encourage you to go back to the system. it is going to be better.
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this current thing is wasting your time and my time. thank you very much. >> good morning, commissioners. good morning. i hate public speaking, and this is the first time i have done it. i work for builders. you have the best system in the bay area for over the counter permits until q-matic. don said something about going to the doctor, but i have not done that because if you leave there is no speaker in the bathroom and do not have enough time to come out. please go back to the clipboard. my name is jackie krivenar. >> good morning, commissioners. i have been a licensed architecture for 27 years. it is a giant step backwards.
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i strongly urge you to strap it -- scrap it completely. there has been enough we spend money on it. there is extensive waste the system has attracted. a lot of the issues that caused the delay have been identified. a couple of additional ones that i book does mention is basically i had a contractor that typically would go through with a permit approval, and the contractor picks up the crude drawings, brings the check and insurance information and is done here that i had a contractor that waited three hours just to be able to have the privilege of paying fees to obtain the permit, and it was because the way the system rotates people that have been in the queue going to the system all morning are ahead of the later number that is drawn, even if it is just one function like paying the fees. that is just one example. i do not think the system is worthy of any war effort to try
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to salvage it. it has been a tremendous birder rigid burden on everyone. -- it has been a tremendous burden on everyone. twice since it has been there it has taken the 35-45 minutes to do a two-minute function. it is because of the way the system puts different folks in the queue ahead of different folks, depending on what your letter is. i think it is to rot with flaws and issues that because it is so and flexible in the system, it is not worthy of any more efforts to salvage, and i strongly urge you to stop it completely. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> i only go to dbi to pull one type of permit, a street space
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permits. the reason i cannot do that at the main office is because i have to go to dbi for voluntary repairs. i used to be able to get in and out of there -- when it was on the first floor with a good number, i was behind everyone with their plans. it would take me hours to pull a five minute permit. on average, 10-15 minutes on a busy day. now it is 90 minutes-2 outburst, which as of 400 this as an increase in my time. instead of being able to comp clients the permit time spent, i will have to start charging people, and that will mean less work, because my prices will be higher than competition. being one of the few guys that follows code, i prices are
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already higher than the competition. the other thing is you cannot take calls, because you have this thing going in the background, so taking a business call is almost impossible. the clipboard system did work well. i agree with the other person of the go to an ipad if you want to digitize it. that system was great. now that the person and all the rest of the people have to go to their computers to stop what they're doing, they have to go into the queue, and that is slowing down productivity. by the end of the day they may have held three or four of us people as a result of having to stop and pull of the next number. i do not have the multiple station issues that everyone else has, but i have this one issue that i can no longer get in and out of there. i have four employees. there are only five of us. it is hard for me to take a whole afternoon off to poll the
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permits. i hope that you guys will kill this system very quickly and go back to the clipboard, because it works well. >> thank you for your comments. next speaker, please. >> commissioners, my name is pamela harris. i am an expediter. i've been an expediter here in san francisco and bay area since the late 1990's. i am now an independent expediter pierre yen just to clear up something, i view expediting as an art form, because i take time to figure of and knows what of the building department. it is my job to make sure our project when you get to the field does not have problems. i know certain people no different issues of the city, and i want to see them, so i am
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selective of who i see. i need to see a tough expediter if i have a tough issue. so that is my job. that is how i view it. when it came out, i took my time to assess what was going on. the first couple of weeks will always be problems and issues. i took my time to come toconclua faster system, which it claims it is trying to do. i understand but there were trying to do. there is no connection to the ticket. how was it transparent? that is not transparency. at least when you had a clipboard you could write down who was doing the work of getting the plan check, bringing the drawings in. in fire at least to have a connection to the permit.
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that is a tropical system. who is bringing it in and what work is being done? this system is not tractable. i usually work on tenant improvements downtown projects. primarily. i usually have to go to building, fire, puc, all kinds of -- may be planning sometimes. i have one great comment about the u-ticket. once you get started, your time is what keeps you -- it takes you to the front of the line. once my ticket starts, then i am kicked to the front of the line whenever next station i have to go to. is that fair?
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i am not sure. what i " i did like is that the pay station, i was kicked to the very beginning. i like that part but there are 10 people in line waiting. the polite different ticket. is that inherently fair? i do not think so. >> thank you for your comment. >> oh, commissioners. i am an architect. i have been practicing here 26 years-plus. i have sat on various boards on the city. i'm all about time to my experience has been the first day with q-matic, one hour of permits, something that i could go through quickly, took me eight hours, literally. there were having problems with the system, etc. i can stand on the fifth floor and c five stations. i can see all of those stations from one vintage point. i could see who is there, who is
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not there, i could go to those stations, get something signed off while something -- those people are doing absolutely nothing. that is an efficient system. right now you can do that. it is in cereal, not parallel. if you take q-matic and make it a parallel system, where you can pull at any station at any time, order number is called up when they are not doing anything, that is a positive system. i can get multiple things signed off while i am still waiting for a building, fire, or something else. i encourage you to make q-matic a parallel system or some other system that can function in multiple ways at the same time, as opposed to the serial way where you have to wait for another person to get kicked
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back. i have to wait for 10 people before i am seen. one morning i came in. i was the first person there. three people who poll numbers have an hour later -- i am still waiting. took me an hour-and-a-half before i was seen. it is not working. it is slowing down the process. it is slowing down the workers at dbi. a lot of money is being wasted. i would encourage you to do something about this. >> good morning, commissioners. i am a permit expediter. i have been doing permits for 18 years. i may do several hundred a year. i met the building department every day. from what everyone has said, you can hear that no one likes the system. i do not know anybody who has
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been in that building that has said anything positive about it. it has been a month? no one has said anything positive. everyone is complaining. there is a reason for that. the system is way too inflexible and wait to linear -- too linear in a process that needs flexibility and needs not to be lanier. this system is just not working. >> thank you for your comments. next speaker please. >> good morning, commissioners. henry. as you can see, a lot of people have spoken before you. not all permit expediters. they come from all different professions. engineers, plan checkers, developers, contractors, you name it, across the whole field. these are regular customers.
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time is money. that is what it comes down to. as you can see, it is taking longer, even for technical services, even if there is nobody there, you have to wait until your number is called. i saw somebody willing to pay for their permit, he went up to the counter and ask what is happening to my number? they said it was purged, it is not there anymore. so he got another number and then was sent over to plan check rather than to pay for the permit. this goes on over and over. unfortunately, i do not think it is a system that is working. the clipboard did work. maybe we can get an ipad or something like that. i know the system cost a lot of money. maybe we could sell that on the day -- ebay.
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this is not a good thing for people on both sides of the counter. lastly, because people are being sent around up and down, they say, forget it, i would do it myself. this is enough for me. this is happening. we need to get some action done because this is not a good thing. sorry, but we thought it would be great, we give this some time, but it has not worked. >> thank you. next speaker. >> good morning, commissioners. my name is john pollard. i operate a structural engineering company and a san francisco gracia company that does foundations and structural upgrade. on average, i spent two hours a day at dbi to pull permit for our structure promise -- projects.
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the reason i have an interest in running efficiently is i have over 100 employees. i am here to talk and why q- matic has failed the eye and the public it was meant to serve. to start from the beginning, there is a line every day in intake on the first floor to get a number. one number for submitting plans, one number for over-the- counter, one number for questions for planning, and then all the other members for other departments. that is about nine different numbers. you need a preservation number. then you have the wrong number for planning, you are rerouted through the system. this takes roughly 45 minutes to get through every day just to get your first q-matic number. if you get the correct number, you are off and running to your next, much water with process at one of the other white stations. an example yesterday, at 9:30 in the morning, planning had 12
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people waiting. each number eight -- each time a number was called out, none of the people waiting were called. the plan checkers could not help one individual person. i am assuming the applicant that had the numbers being called were on the fifth floor, in the restroom, or out feeding their meters. they were not one of the 12 was up -- of us waiting in line. once we are on the fifth floor, we are subjected to more than double with times from a month ago since q-matic has been enacted. fire can take up to three hours just to get to their department where they say n/a, not applicable. a simple electric permit that we got on the third floor that use to take us 20 minutes, it took us 4.5 hours last week. the staff at dbi has become much more proficient in doing their jobs over the past five years.
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our complaint has nothing to do with staffing @ dbi but entirely with the q-matic system that is a complete boondoggle. to date i have never seen the planning department or dbi enact a change in permitting that had doubled the amount of time that it takes to get a permit, when there was already a system set up that all staff and both the department knew well, worked well, and that the public knew well. as the saying goes, if it is not broke, do not fix it. i would come ask this commission to put q-matic on hold until the i am planning can confirm if q- matic will ever be applicable to this department. lastly, whenever you go to the dmv to get your license renewed, it is faster than you can get through q-matic, and something is seriously wrong. >> thank you. is there any more public comment?
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ok, thank you, everybody, for your comments. commissioners? commissioner walker. >> i really appreciate people coming in to talk about this. i know when we initiated this many years ago, several directors ago, had reasons for it, primarily, to provide consistency, deal with accusations of favoritism, shopping for plan checkers, etc. i know as long as i have been on this commission, my goal is to create a department that provides excellent customer service to everybody walking in the door. everybody equally.
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it sounds like this program is problematic. one of the things that is going to be a problem that may not be insurmountable is if we cannot deal with this serial vs. parallel issue of thing going through the system. if we cannot do that, it will be difficult to make the kinds of changes. i am not clear why it makes so much difference to have a sign- in sheet rather than being issued a number, except for that, that one is serial from station to station, whereas each station has a sign-in, as opposed to one signed in for the entire process. is that correct?
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>> yes, but first before information does not have a sign-in a clipboard, right away they get the information and then they go to planning on the first floor, planning on the fifth floor, and then the process right away. violation, sixth floor. now because of q-matic, first of all, they do not give you a number, that is a violation. people need to go up and down because q-matic is not on all floors. only on two floors. the person running up and down to the fourth floor and sixth floor to create a violation and then they come back to create a number. after you finish that, they also need to go back to the system, to wherever they need to go.